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As of late I've seen this mainly as it pertains to WoW but it happens so damn often all over that I can tag this post general meta.

To disclaim beforehand: yes I know that kinky relationships can be abusive, yes I know that poly relationships can be abusive. It is not that these relationships are abusive just because they are poly and kinky, though; it is because they are abusive relationships. Poly and kink just give douchebiscuits another vector to funnel the abuse through.

Anyhow. I'm sure I've touched on this before, but I need to again:

Please stop using ~sexual deviancy~ as proof that a character is evil.

I see this done over and over and OVER AND OVER, and it's issue-laden as hell, and when it's applied to characters who are female, queer, or coded as non-white, it gets worse. I'll explain how.

(Warning: I discuss racist BS, homophobic BS, sexist BS, abusive relationship patterns and suchlike below the cut. If you'd rather not read it, that's completely fine. Sometimes you don't have the juice.)

Also, if I've doofed out or gone out of line at any point, let me know and i will fix it.

With regard to women it often ties into the virgin/whore complex that society just loves ever so much. Women are not supposed to openly want sex, if indeed we are supposed to want it at all. We're supposed to want it when our appropriate male partner does. No more, no less. And we're definitely not supposed to be dominant. (Yes, heterosexual femmedomme stuff is a thing, but it is considered a kink, and is such because it's considered kinky or offbeat for a man to want a lady in charge of him.) So therefore, it's a common shortcut for people to use when depicting EVIL WOMEN to portray them as sexually voracious psycho-harpies who lord over men and embody every bad stereotype ever about dommes. I have seen this done over. and over. and over. AND FUCKING OVER. with Sylvanas. and Liadrin. and Cersei from Stonard. and Azshara. and Vashj. and Maiev. and Sarannis. And it's SO TIRESOME.

It gets nastier when you consider that everyone I mentioned there is or was an elf and elves in WoW are coded as some mishmosh of Arabian Nights and Random East Asian. "Oh, I need an easy way to show Sylvanas as a villain, so I'll make her over-the-top kinky and totally into bondage and shit!" Hey presto, you just basically parroted a whole buttload of issue-tacular tropes right there, and pretty much made Sylvanas into the Dragon Lady, with all THAT entails. You didn't do it on purpose or with malice aforethought, but we have all be run over by the issuemobile nonetheless and a lot of harmful stuff has been put out there.

I'm not laying the blame for ths entirely on fandom either. hell no. This shows up in official material too! The depiction of Azshara in the WotA trilogy is really leaning on the Dragon Lady button, to my eye, as well as leaning on a fucktonne of gross misogyny that makes the jerkassiest priests I knew in youth look downright progressive. When you consider that Tyrande got chickified into this two-dimensional good-girl stereotype whose depiction is peppered liberally with pastichey ~Oriental Mysticism~, it gets WORSE. Add in Vashj's attitude toward Azshara and Tyrande and we have the time-honoured Psycho Lesbian bullshit as the cherry atop the fail sundae.

Why why whywhywhywhywhy WHY is this still a thing? Why does it have to be a thing. Please make it stop being a thing.

It makes me want to spew, kthxbai. If I wanted to hear that 'any tiny deviation from strict gender roles and prescribed sexual behaviour means you're evil and immoral and soulless omgzors' shit again I'd go back to Catholic school, people.

This model applies to guys as well. People will screech and jump around and point to Illidan's toppiness and his attitude towards Vashj and Kael ("inappropriate"/unusual partners by society's standards) as proof of his sexual deviance and therefore his evil, and then they give me huge levels of whiplash by turning around and screeching about Kael but using his calling Illidan 'Master' as proof of his sexual deviance and therefore his evil *record needle scratch* okay seriously WHAT THE SQUITTERFUCK MAKE UP YOUR MINDS.

It happens to a few other elven guys too--Rommath, Halduron, Lor'themar, Matis the Melodramatic Ninny from Bloodmyst, Asric, VRANESH even though he doesn't do anything but ride around looking cute, STAGHELM even though the guy's been abstaining since his son's death and that's blaringly obvious...the weird fucking undertones of certain scenes in the WotA trilogy do this too, this "gay and/or kinky = evil mmmeeeehhhh" bullshit. The bit with Per'otharn being turned into a satyr sticks out in my mind as being especially 'fuck you, Rickyboy, and the inbred Gronn you rode in on.' His treatment of Dar'khan is stupid along these lines too. What, you chicken, you're too spineless to show the BLATANT ZOMG CHAINS EVERYWHERE IMAGERY all over the Scourge but you want to snivel around about collars? Dry up.

All this business--'feminine' men being suspect, kink being shorthand for deviancy in general, 'exotic' guys being seen as less-than and immoral--is just crappy at the end of the day. By perpetuating these tropes, you're basically implying that mainstream media's yammering is correct, that any dude who is not het/white/cis/dominant in the prescribed way/able-bodied is suspect and likely evil. Welcome to the background radiation of life. You can see hints of this nonsense in Kingdom Hearts fandom too. Just look at Ansem and Xemnas and any of their analogues (there are a million zillion Ansems now and I cannot keep track of 'em), and how people treat THEM. It makes me want to headdesk so hard.

Speaking of the Scourge...an example of how bondage imagery and such got used and largely DIDN'T fail to hell and back? The Lich King. A lot of the stuff dealing with him is just FRAUGHT with double entendres and hints and the occasional DEAR GOD moment (see: Light's Hope, and what he says to Tirion). So why did it work here?

Well--for one, Arthas is an established character. For another, he is a white guy. ;I For a third, a LOT of care was taken in his depiction (with the exception of some daft snafus). The chains-and-imprisonment imagery is everywhere with the Scourge, but the hints and such are not all there is to Arthas's characterization. He's front and centre and he was your PoV character for a bunch of WC3 and TFT and thus he's established well in people's minds. And he's pretty damn OBVIOUS about what he's doing and what he wants. Guys are assumed to be forthright and up-front.

Compare and contrast Sylvanas, who's a woman and therefore assumed to be duplicitous. We have nimrods claiming she only pretended to care about her people in spite of the fact that this was nowhere in canon until that dumb fanfic won a contest. And of course people jump on that as the guiding principle, because womenz iz evilz.

And what of Rommath and Vranesh? Why them? Easy. They are Blood Elves, and people like to be homophobic about Blood Elves. Also, they look the most Asian and therefore the most Other. XP Rommath's robe looks a bit like a changshan and Vranesh has the high ponytail. Badda-bing. There is nothing in either of their charcaerizations to suggest this--hell, Vranesh has NONe, and Rommath had nothing but 'he's suave at politics and somewhat machiavellian and a douche to M'uru (who is secretly a troll, but still)' until the Shadow of the Sun fanfic got canonized. But yet they both somehow end up as these complete raging assholes who look like they fell out of an Anita Blake fanfic? BWUH. And people do not realize they are doing this. I want to make that very clear. Much of this is not done on purpose. Like I said, it's the background radiation of media. We are ALL swimming in this Kool-Aid.

But that doesn't eliminate the issues here. It does not erase the fact that people are playing into gross stereotypes about queer men (they are predatory, they are sex maniacs, they are inevitably sex offenders, and because of the strong association between gay guys and leather subculture we have the good old kinky-equals-deviant-and-wrong coming into full swing) and about Asian and Middle Eastern men.

This happens to Xavius and Fandral a shit-ton too. Which. Er. Wasn't Xavius like fixated on Azshara's Magical Royal Highborne Sorceress Vajayjay? Yes, I know, I know, Knaak was horribly homophobic in dealing with him and Per'otharn and the other Highborne guys, but the entire point of shit was that everybody wanted in Azshara's pants so...BWUH. And Fandral was too obsessed with revenge and too fail-at-grieving to think of sex, I should think. Yes, there are probably a lot of fun things he could do with vines, and I have no doubt that he and his wife did all of them, but she is gone and so is Valstann and Fandral probably feels like sex with anyone else is a betrayal of their memory. He and Leyara are extremely clingy because they have lost everything else, but he calls her 'daughter'. I don't think fun with vines has anything to do with anything in their relationship!

*wheeze* *thud*

So. Yeah. Anyway.

I know people do not set out to do this on purpose. I know they do not generally set out to spray issues and problem-licious bollocks all over otherwise-decent (usually otherwise-decent, lol fuck you Knaak) writing. But it happens, and it plugs into and reinforces some really deeply harmful stereotypes.

Doing this stuff hurts real people. Yes, it's ~just a video game~ but art imitates and reflects life, and therefore doing this kind of thing actively hurts REAL PEOPLE.

Please stop associating kink and an active sex life with evil. Please stop associating being queer or being poly with evil. Please stop reinforcing gross gender stereotypes and gender essentialism. Please, for the love of Illidan's loincloth, cut it the fuck out, because I've had enough.

I am not saying your villain can never be kinky, or never be queer, or whatever, but there is a difference between "this guy is a villain, and he happens to be kinky" and "this guy is kinky because he's evil". Maybe your villain's a perfectly considerate guy to his partners--listens, is attentive, does aftercare, is generally the Best Top Evor--but is a total asshole in battle. I dunno, it's your choice.

But. Yeah. Be aware of hinky things! I don't think people who write this kind of thing and didn't realize it had all this attached WTF are awful people. We're human. We err. We just need to learn from it. I make mistakes like this myself, still, and I go 'well fuck" and I fix it and move on.

Date: 2013-04-28 02:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-ganesh.livejournal.com
You're totally right, it happens ALL THE TIME. And it's gross and awful.

Date: 2013-04-29 06:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yukie1013.livejournal.com
It just really makes me wanna bite things.

And like. I used to do this. I grew up Catholic and when was younger and badly in denial about everything in re: me and sexuality I MADE ALL THESE MISTAKES. Basically I was doing this flailing denial thing in the vain hope that I could erase those aspects of myself, or something, I don't know.

But yeah. It's. Blurgh. every time I see an author just FIXATE like that I go "hello 18-year-old me, how's the river in Egypt today" and get embarrassed for the author. XD;

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